THREE antique stained-glass windows at the University of Chichester have been restored more than a century after they were first installed in the Old Chapel on the university campus.
A special ceremony was held last week to mark the unveiling of the trio, which are now in pristine condition. It was followed by a special address from the University’s vice-chancellor, Professor Clive Behagg, about the glass, its history, and the importance that antique stained glass could have for one of the most successful modern universities of today. This was followed by short speech from Clifford Durant about the restoration process.
Thanks to a grant from the Bishop Otter Trustees, the windows were restored under the supervision of the glass maker Clifford Durant, who has kept alive the arts of the Victorian stained glass artisan in his Horsham workshop.
Between 1900 and 1915 a series of stained glass windows were commissioned by University, then known as Bishop Otter College, and paid for by contributions from staff and students. The windows represented female saints, each selected to be an appropriate role model for students in a women’s teacher training college.
Three such windows were restored and installed in the Cloister’s corridor in the 1980s, and they have now been joined by the second trio.
Among the windows unveiled is an image of St Hilda, first installed in 1905 as the students’ tribute to Sarah Trevor, who became the college’s first woman principal in 1873, when the Bishop Otter re-opened as one of the country’s first colleges to train women for the teaching profession.
St Hilda, a seventh century Abbess, was famed for wisdom and teaching. The window is a tribute to a woman who spearheaded the progress of women’s education in Britain.